Tea tree oil has been used for centuries in skin care. But there have been conflicting reports about its efficacy, perhaps more so than any other essential oil. Some sing its praises, while others warn against its use.
So what gives? As part of our Ingredient 101 series, here is a deep-dive into it, once and for all.
What is tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from a plant native to Australia, known as Melaleuca Alternifolia. This oil is produced through a steaming of the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree’s characteristically scented leaves. If you’ve ever used tea tree oil products, you’d likely have noticed its very distinct scent.
Like many other natural and plant-based ingredients, it has a long history of usage. This traditional medicine had been used by native Aborigines for centuries, who used it to treat everything from coughs and colds to wounds and various skin conditions.
What are the Benefits of Tea Tree Oil?
1. Kills bacteria: One of the major components in tea tree oil is a compound known as Terpinen-4-ol. This is an active ingredient that helps destabilize the cell of acne-causing bacteria, essentially killing it! This makes tea tree oil effective against acne.
2. Anti-inflammatory: Tea tree oil also helps quell any existing inflammation and redness, a major benefit for those with acne-prone skin. Scientific studies have even shown that this oil works just as well as benzoyl peroxide when it comes to treating acne. Plus it comes with fewer side effects! (e.g. dryness or irritation)
3. It’s anti-viral and anti-fungal: This oil also helps decrease funguses and viruses on the surface of the skin, making it a viable treatment for Athlete’s Foot and cold sores!
What type of skin benefits the most from this ingredient?
Oily and acne-prone skin would benefit the most from this ingredient because it will help balance and control oil production.
It is also strong enough to heal acne and blemishes on the skin. Because this ingredient can be strong, we recommend doing a patch test to ensure the ingredient is compatible with your skin type, as everyone’s skin reacts differently. (if you don’t know how to properly perform a patch test, click here to learn more)
What do the experts say?
Tea tree oil can be drying on the skin, so heed caution. “I suggest applying a hydrating mask first and then following with a spot acne treatment,” says board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com expert, Dr. Dendy Engelman. “You don’t want to further irritate the area by stripping the oil, which would kick start the cells into producing more oil [because they think the skin has no oil].”
Where can I find it?
NYX Professional Makeup Tea Tree Blotting Papers. These blotting papers are a must-have for removing excess shine on oily skin while you’re on the go. They’re infused with Tea Tree oil so they won’t irritate your skin!
The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser. This foaming face wash—ideal for oily skin—helps remove makeup, dirt, and impurities while providing your skin with a healthy dose of our star ingredient.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Mattifying Facial Toner. After cleansing with the foaming cleanser above, the brand recommends using this toner to help give skin a matte, shine-free finish.
See you next week!!
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